Dexter Kitchen Renovation Part 3: Cost and Resources


This is part 3 of a 3 part series on the Dexter kitchen renovation.  Please see part 1, the renovation process, here and part 2, the reveal, here.  

Now that our black kitchen renovation is complete at the Dexter House, I wanted to show you guys what this project cost us.  I had Garrett empty out the truck seats and check behind the kitchen drawer for any missing receipts and logged them in my handy-dandy Excel budget tracker.  Let’s take a look, shall we…

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Renovaiton Open Shelves

When we first toured this house, I earmarked $10,000-$15,000 for the kitchen renovation, but narrowed that number down to $12,200 after deciding on a layout and design plan.  That number doesn’t include tax or house-wide expenses like the new electrical panel or the main plumbing runs, but it does include everything you can see in this room.  Here’s how our budget turned out:

$4200 Appliances

$1500 Cabinets

$920 Countertops

$460 Hardware

$450 Skylights

$790 Sink

$275 Faucet + Pot filler

$950 Lighting

$150 Electrical

$100 Plumbing

$700 Flooring materials + refinish

$255 Shelves

$220 Backsplash

$400 Framing & Building Materials

$250 Paint

$200 Incidentals

$11,820 Total

That’s a lot of money.  But considering that the average US major kitchen remodel runs between $18k and a ton, our figure seems kinda reasonable, right?!  In truth, we’ve spent between $5k and $12k for all four of our previous kitchen remodels, so while the Dexter House kitchen remodel is cheap by US standards, it was on the high side for these DIY-ers.

We made some big splurges this time around, like the swing-arm lights, the appliances (especially the Blue Star range), the handcrafted shelf brackets (which seem to be everyone’s favorite and we still have 5 more of them…!), and the campaign hardware.  These items were all ‘big impact’ and thus justifiable, at least in my book.  Of course if I were to design this kitchen over, I’d change a couple of things.  Like I’d probably switch out the campaign hardware with something cheaper and easier to use.  I’d also consider replacing the cement tile backsplash with classic white subway tiles and extend them behind the open shelves for higher impact.  I really didn’t want to do a large tile installation after the exhausting Ravenna herringbone backsplash, but in the end, large backslashes are a crowd pleaser, so I’d probably make the effort next time around.  Hindsight is 20/20.

We did save some money in a few spots too.  Like doing all the labor ourselves.  And using open shelves instead of upper cabinets on the east wall.  And salvaging the original pie safe.  We also went with stock cabinets and painted them ourselves, which added high contrast and turned boring-looking cabinets into something a bit more high-end.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel north

What would you guys have splurged on?  Would you have picked any of the same splurges I did?
Sources: lower cabinet paint: BM Onyx | trim and wall paint: BM Simply White | Cabinets | Sink | Faucet| Potfiller | Tile | Red Oak Floors, shelves, and countertops, Hardwood Industries | Shelf brackets | Campaign Hardware (on drawers) | cabinet knobs | Range | swing arm lights | marble pastry slab | nesting mixing bowls | cake trays (similar) |  marble utensil holder | overhead kitchen lightmudroom star light | dinner plates and bowls |



p.s. seriously digging these fold away teepees handmade in the USA!

p.p.s. When I was little, my family would go hiking every summer.  We’d pack sleeping bags and a cook stove and enough food to last two weeks into backpacks and just go.  I think that’s why I’ve never really been into the whole “glamping” movement.  Until now.

p.p.p.s. A few of my favorite pins recently: this dinner.  This bedroom.  This littles’ bedroom.  This look.  And this family.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Our kitchen remodel has been stalled (for 6 years, oops) and we’re hoping to finish it this year. The cabinets are custom which give the many doors and space constraints was kind of necessary. However, my dad has been building them which means they only cost the price of materials. I am keeping two of the upper cabinets but thinking about splurging on the cast brass cabinet latches from Rejuvenation. We’re already using the chrome finish brass drawer pulls from there since they exactly match the pitted originals. The $6 latches we’ve been using on half the kitchen have worked fine for the last 6 years, and $25 latches seem so extravagant, but I imagine they’ll feel so solid and nice.

    We’re going to save on the backsplash tile by going with an standard in stock tile from Lowes but doing the full wall behind the stove. The original light fixtures will stay (I already stripped the layers of paint off them) and the counter tops are the cherry butcherblock from lumber liquidators finished in PolyX hard wax oil. I still have to figure out how to build a range hood like the Dexter House one since it’s exactly what I want. I just need to start by building a bottom frame to fit the fan and then build the rest in place and eyeball the angles. It’s hard to know what will look good and not overwhelm the space until it’s physically on the wall.

    I love looking at the photos of this house and the spaced out updated just keep reminding me that I need to get moving on finishing my kitchen :). The only thing I keep wondering is why you didn’t enclose the space above the upper cabinets to bring them up to the ceiling?

    • Wow, sounds like a fun project…I hope you get to enjoy it soon. Sorry I don’t have a DIY on the hood, but feel free to ask questions and I’ll pass them along! You noticed that the cabinets didn’t go to the ceiling too, huh?! That is actually the number one thing that bugs me about this space. Turns out it doesn’t bother my husband so it’s on the very bottom of our punch list. I’m still hoping we’ll fill the gap in with molding, but we have a whole basement to tackle first!

  2. I cannot believe you managed this amazing remodel on such a small budget! Nice work!

  3. A perfect example of creating something beautiful while maintaining a really reasonable budget. Congratulations! It’s like a little jewel box.

    May I ask, did you install the skylights yourselves and where did you get them? The cost seems really low. I want to have a few installed in our home, but it’s not something my husband would want to tackle, even though he’s really handy.

    You’re very talented!

    • Thanks Carolyn! The skylights are from Home Depot – I was really surprised at how inexpensive they were too (of course, they’re not very big). Our roof is mostly flat so we had to build up the slope on top of the roof, but the guys at the window counter were happy to draw a little detail and my husband implemented it perfectly!

  4. I love your kitchen!. Can you tell me which model Bertazzoni hood you used? Thanks so much.

  5. Great kitchen, and I love the cement tiles – I think it pulls the kitchen together. Really impressed with what you have done on your homes. We moved to Seattle in 2012 and have been renovating a home since (with toddler). Not sure how you are getting it all done! This is probably one of my favorite kitchen remodels I’ve seen.

  6. Eileen says:

    Where did you get your lighting from?

  7. This is fantastic. We have a 1936 craftsman house. We were hoping to do some of the work ourselves, but there is lead paint on the walls and cabinets. How did you handle that with your remodel? Thanks. 🙂

    • Hi Sara – we’ve tested for lead but never found any. We tend not to peal paint but rather just paint over if that’s possible. And when working around old materials we ALWAYS wear good masks! I know that some people do lead removal, so you may look for an expert in your area. Good luck!


  1. […] a recap of all the Dexter kitchen posts in case you’re interested… Cost and Resources | the Reveal | the Renovation Process Recap | Campaign hardware | Butcher Block […]

Speak Your Mind